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Change, your Hollywood story reminded me of one I heard second hand from our muleskinner in the Cav unit. He had grown up on a farm that raised and trained draft Belgians. In 1976, he had driven a team of them from California to Washington DC with the bicentennial wagon train.

He said that one day, while they were making camp for the night in Death Valley, an old man came through wanting to assemble all the mules available in camp. Word got out that this guy was somehow associated with the long running radio and TV show "Death Valley Days". The shows main sponsor had been a soap company called 20 mule team borax. So called because the borax had been hauled from the mines to the railhead in freight wagons pulled by teams of 20 mules. This old guy owned the harness used to hitch the mules used for the TV commercials that opened every episode of Death Valley Days. He wanted to put together one more 20 mule hitch before he died. The folks in the wagon train obliged him.
 

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There were certainly some great characters way back! The sad thing is that many died without leaving their knowledge amd experiences on paper.

I enjoyed the Mark Rashid books because they were in story form and the old man who set him off on his horse experiences was obviously very knowledgeable, not only of horses but people too.
 

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I bought an Irish Setter pup from some breeders. They had a very nice three year old colt in a paddock. He had been dumped on the elderly couple to wean by an old man who travelled the southern UK with a pair of horses and a wagon.
The colt was entire and whilst I was there he jumped out over a 4'+ hedge when two women went riding past.
I told the couple to have him gelded and if they wanted to sell him to let me know.

They had him cut and about six months later called me and I bought him.
I broke him in and had a good girl riding him, he won show classes and was a natural for jumping.

Down the road from where I was, lived an elderly man who had an Arab stud where he stood a Champion Arab. He had some very nice horses. He had been a mule skinner in WW1.

Boyfriend and I stopped on the way home to go to the local, very small pub. To our surprise there was a stranger in there. A tiny man, sat at a table drinking a half pint of beer. My boyfriend bought him another when he ordered our drinks,
We hadn't been there ten minutes whe. In rushed Alby the Arab owner. There were no preliminaries, he just rushed to the old man and started cussing and before you could blink the pair were fighting like two Jack Russels, arms swinging and more cussing than harm.
Boyfriend grabbed Alby whilst the barman grabbed the other man.

Turns out that the stranger had two mares, one of these had somehow got loose and wandered over to Alby's and his stallion had also miraculously got loose and was covering the mare.

Alby stayed whilst the other went to collect his mare. Alby went on to tell us that the man was known for having one of his mares get loose amd get covered by some well known stud or another. Only ever one mare at a time so one mare would be pregnant whilst the other had a foal at foot and they swapped each year.

Days later we met the old man again and got talking to him. He told us that he had returned to pick up a colt he had left with some dog breeders but they had sold it. They had given him the money for it less the gelding costs. He said it was a very nice colt by a well known show stud, Airs and Graces.

I never let him visit our place as I know he would have recognised that horse! At least I found his breeding.
 
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